Consumers are demanding fruity wines, resulting in a shift to fruit-driven Cabernet Sauvignon in South Africa.
The old school cabs- heavy on wood and structure with some fruit definition- have a specific niche of customers that appreciate them. Winemakers from our different regions are now trying their hand at Cabernet Sauvignon with elegance as the backbone of their styles. The line-up we had showed the different schools of winemaking, with some wines being simple and straight-forward, and others much more complex. The developed wines clearly reflected on ageing, which is key if the fruit and wine are permitting.
I take my hat-off to the makers of well-made wines, but I really had to dig deep to find a wine of distinction. From the line-up it was so easy to pick up the older vintages as they leaned more to the old school Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking techniques. Wood was more dominate but consumers now needs more fruity wines and maybe that’s what we need to deliver. We need deal breakers that will make a consumer kill a bottle at a restaurant. Overall points of interest were elegance, more fruity layers and depth.
The line-up was a real challenge, as most of the wines were well made with clear varietal traits- smooth and subtle, with great fruit ripeness coming to fore. The bothersome aspects were balance of acidity, which was clearly lifted in some wines and the lack of depth in others. When one says Cabernet Sauvignon, you expect elegance, finer tannins and good wood integration, not a sharp finish and greenish notes.
List of wines:
- Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
- Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
- Boland Cellar Five Climates Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Saxenburg Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
- Vergelegen Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
- One wine was corked and therefore not rated
For ratings, tasting notes and more information on the wines tasted for the May Which Wine edition, please click here.